Bristol City Council have awarded nine high streets a recovery package of £4.7m to help the city’s retail sectors recover from the pandemic, with a focus on investing in art, community and culture.
The funding aims to encourage people back to the city’s shopping hubs and help further boost the local economy as the city emerges from the pandemic.
Play:Disrupt came on board in the planning stage to host 27 creative workshops with the public to find out how residents would like to see the funding spent.
As specialists in play and with a background in street theatre, we developed a creative workshop and event to engage the public in conversation about their local area. These happened on the nine highstreets as well as indoors with community groups. Residents’ ideas, knowledge and hopes were gathered through different activities and entry points, drawing out the unique personality of each area.
A key activity was ROOTS – a quickfire systems exercise that devises bespoke activities to bring about changes in neighbourhoods, based on their unique challenges, resources and aspirations.
Play:Disrupt delivered 27 workshops across the city: Brislington, Church Road (St George), East Street Bedminster, Filton Avenue, Filwood Broadway, Shirehampton High Street, Stapleton Road, Stockwood and Two Mile Hill.
Images by Jack Offord.
NEXT STEPS: CULTURAL ORGANISATIONS EXPRESSION OF INTEREST
In summer 2022 Bristol City Council invited expressions of interest from organisations with experience of working with the community and other stakeholders to co-design and deliver culture and events activity in the priority high streets through to 31 August 2023.
You can look at the types of events which have been delivered by creatives in Bristol as part of the City Centre of High Streets Economic Recovery Culture and Events Programme here.
This activity was funded by the Reopening High Streets Safely and Welcome Back Fund, with monies from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.